Thursday, December 13, 2012
Running the "Wrong Way"
Running the "Wrong Way"
Stop me when I start sounding like a running snob...but...
I got to the track the other day and started running counter clockwise around the track. If you've never noticed the track is laid out to be run making a series of left hand turns. I'm not sure who made the decision but that's the way it is. You can tell because all the markings from the arrows and numbers on the lane lines only make sense if you are going a certain way.
As I started into my track workout, a staple for most marathon training plans, I noticed one other runner on the track. An older gentlemen in sweats and a t-shirt going...well, yes, you guessed it...the WRONG way. I have a weakness of getting annoyed at little things while running. My immediate reaction was to roll my eyes, sigh heavily and think all sorts of ignorant things about this guy running the wrong way.
Our paths soon crossed and he didn't budge out of "lane 1." I swerved out of his way and did my best to offer a friendly wave that he hardly seemed to notice. In my mind I was thinking...how many times am I going to have to pass him running the wrong way today. In my workout for the day I had 28 or so laps to run.
As I continued on I realized that maybe it wouldn't be so bad to run the wrong way for just today. Casually I sucked up my pride and started to make right hand turns. Even at this, each time I passed my "workout partner" I thought to myself...I'm going the wrong way!!
Eventually it grew on me and I began to change my attitude and see even some benefits in going a different way. Just as my attitude began to change the older man sauntered off the track and there I was alone...running clockwise and forcing myself to take a new path of right hand turns.
Then it happened...a young, serious looking runner entered into the stadium and on to the track in full stride. Before I had time to react he was in lane one headed my direction and of course...he was running the "right" way on the track. The coin had been flipped and now I was the one that got the stare of..."what are you doing running the wrong way?" I wanted so badly to stop and start running counter clockwise again...what to do? I had just started to enjoy going against the grain.
For the record...I finished the workout going clockwise. Thoughts persisted beyond the track and my workout to life and running the race. Here are a few things to consider...
What would it look like to change a few habits or patterns in your life? Would changing the route you take to work everyday change the way you look at things?
I learned I can't please everyone. If so, I would always be switching which way I ran around the track. What behaviors in your life would change if you stopped doing a few things just to please others?
Finally, maybe I just should have stopped to talk to the first runner and asked him if he knew he was running the wrong way. Maybe...maybe not? I could see him reply, "c'mon youngster, live a little and try making a few right turns on the track...it won't hurt and maybe it could help change your perspective on life."